The Foresight Nanotech Institute does a nice job of highlighting the World Council of Church’s nauseating policy statement on nanotechnology.
The WCC would subject nanotechnology to “democratic control,”
With public confidence in both private and government science at an all time low, full societal debate on nano-scale convergence is critical. It is not for scientists and governments to â€œeducateâ€ the public, but for society to determine the goals and processes for the technologies they finance. How can society assert democratic control over new technologies and participate in assessing research priorities?
Firstly, society must engage in a wide debate about nanotechnology and its multiple economic, health and environmental implications. Secondly, some civil society organizations have called for a moratorium on nanotech research and new commercial products until such time as laboratory protocols and regulatory regimes are in place to protect workers and consumers, and until these materials are shown to be safe. Given the regulatory vacuum and inertia by leading nano nations to act, the call for a moratorium is justified and deserves public debateâ€¦
. . .
The international community must create a new United Nations body with the mandate to track, evaluate and accept or reject new technologies and their products through an International Convention on the Evaluation of New Technologies (ICENT).
This would, of course, be the worst possible thing to do to nanotechnology. As Foresight notes, there may be very good reasons for the eventual creation of a Nanotech Weapons Organization to monitor and control development of nano weapons (much as there are similar entities that attempt to control and prevent nuclear proliferation), but placing science under “democratic control” is absurd. Many of the technologies that are ubiquitous would never have survived the sort of “democratic control” that the WCC envisions.
The Foresight piece is far too nice to the WCC, however, depicting the group as perhaps misguided in its overreliance on ETC. But the World Council of Churches has long been a menace to freedom.
The WCC has a long history of funneling money to terrorists. In 1978 it infamously donated $85,000 to Robert Mugabe’s Patriotic Front of Zimbabwe. The WCC long cooperated with and aided the “official” Communist-run churches of Eastern Europe, completely ignoring Christians persecuted behind the Iron Curtain (some with the WCC did issue a half-hearted apology about the organization’s blind eye to Eastern Europe a few years ago).
Today, the WCC is, like many lefty religious organizations, practically a mouthpiece for the Palestinians and a strident critic of Israel. When Yasser Arafat died, the WCC statement read like Arafat was some latter-day Gandhi or Martin Luther King, rather than the man complicit in the cold-blooded murder of Olympic athletes.
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